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[humor] Re: FW: EOT-Lite File Format

From: Thomas Lord <lord@emf.net>
Date: Tue, 04 Aug 2009 09:17:11 -0700
To: Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>
Cc: www-font@w3.org
Message-Id: <1249402631.6196.35.camel@dell-desktop.example.com>
Some dark humor, just to lighten things up a bit...

On Tue, 2009-08-04 at 16:20 +0100, Dave Crossland wrote:

> Hang on. I just reread Tab and Tom Lord's posts on this, and it seems
> to me they are saying there are 4 things that the W3C Recommendation
> ought to be backwards compatible with, if backwards compatibility is
> an important aim here:
> 
> 1. Existing versions of MSIE
> 
> 2. Existing EOTC-using websites
> 
> 3. Existing versions of Firefox, Safari, and real soon Opera and Chrome
> 
> 4. Existing TTF-using websites
[....]
> Tricky business!


Close enough.   Where the discussion has actually
gone among the EOTL backers, though, strikes me
as having achieved a level of irony rarely seen
outside of films like Dr. Strangelove:

"We needed a new format to achieve interoperability."

  "Yes, great idea."

"So it had to be incompatible."

  "Incompatible?"

"Yes, incompatible."

  "With what?"

"Everything.  We needed a format that nothing used
and that had no other purpose."

  [confused] "... than to be ... incompatible."

"Incompatible.  To achieve interoperability."

  "I see.  Well, actually, I don't."

"Are you talking back to me?"

  "No sir.  It's just...."

"If the format was compatible with anything
then programs would use these fonts.  That would
have broken interoperability."

   [stunned] "Well..."

"We needed compatibility.  A standard.
We needed something no program supported."

   [confused] "...for... interoperability...."

"Exactly."

   [cautiously alarmed] 
   "Isn't that... and pardon me for asking but...
   isn't that contrary to the mission?  Wasn't the
   goal really to explain how to make a web font that
   many programs would use?"

"Yes!  Damn it, are you paying attention?  I just
said, we needed a standard format for interoperability.
A format, in other words, that no programs used!"

   [increasingly worried] ".... interesting ...."

"Except Microsoft's IE."

   [prematurely relieved] "Oh!  So it would be compatible!"

"No! So it would be incompatible!"

   [disbelief] "Incompatible..."

"Right.  It had to work with IE incompatibly."

   [piecing things together] "So that it would 
   be a new format that no programs use..."

"Yes."

   "... that works with IE"

"Uh-huh"

   "because IE has no support for it."

"You've got the picture."

   [attempting to veil concern]
   "So it would be interoperable by not working
   with any programs.  Except for IE.  It would
   work with IE because IE doesn't have support for
   it."

"Is this confusing for you?!?!  Think like
an American!  This is war!  Pull yourself together."

   "Just trying to make sure I understand."

"For interoperability we needed a format that
no program used and it had to work with IE because
IE had no support for it."

    "Noted.  One last question, sir."

"What is it?"

    "If no programs used the format, except for
    IE which uses it by not supporting it...
    how would it help fonts come to the web?"

"Simple, Major:  we'd create a legal minefield
for anyone who dared to implement the new format."

    "Sir?"

"By discouraging implementation we could
Preserve Our Essence and ensure the interoperability
would last."

   [veiled panic] "Preserve Our Essence?"

"We could make sure it stayed incompatible
with everything.  Except IE, which would 
handle the new format by having no support
for it."

   "For interoperability...."

"Major, are you aware of the communist plot to
sap our precious bodily fluids by fluoridating 
the water supply?!?"

   "I can't say I was sir...."

-t
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 16:17:53 GMT

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